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 Everett True

Haim | An open letter to Christopher R. Weingarten

Haim | An open letter to Christopher R. Weingarten
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Hey Chris

You miss the point, if you think this is a reignition of the old ‘pop vs rock’ debate. (Scott’s written far worse criticism of near most all the cherished ‘buzz’ indie bands of recent years, for example.)

Far as I read it, Scott had one main criticism of the Haim album.

He doesn’t like it.

I too think there is often something inherently sexist and snobbish when ‘indie’ fans express a dislike for ‘pop’ bands. However, I don’t think this is one of these occasions. (Not that you’ve accused him of sexism, but you are by inference accusing him of elitism for not automatically liking all ‘pop’.)

How fortunate that so many rock critics have discovered the latent love for pop music that always laid deep within, just at a time when it’s been proven that you will not get work if your music criticism does not attract the requisite number of hits in web 2.0. And what are folk more likely to read about? A mild ‘controversy’ around Haim and Miley Cyrus, or a 2,000 word rave about the new The Garbage & The Flowers reissue?

An interesting volte face for the field of music criticism, I’m sure you agree – from opinion-leaders and gate-keepers to mainstream cheerleaders, there to reassure EVERYONE (but especially those who like those in the popular eye) that their taste is just as valid as everyone else’s.

Of course, the rockists at magazines like MOJO, SPIN, Q Magazine, Rolling Stone et al – needed taking down however many pegs they wrongly claimed for themselves. But the pendulum has now swung so extreme the other way that it now seems you’re not allowed to criticise certain genres of music – ‘pop’, for example – without being called rockist or sexist or (shudder) elitist. Hmmm. They do say that interpretation often says more about the person doing the interpreting than the original song, or article, or work of art.

Quite why certain U.K. mainstream music critics find themselves so riled by the writing of Scott Creney and also Neil Kulkarni – to my mind, two of the finest U.S/U.K music critics around – is a conversation for another time.

I’ve written this email after having just driven 15 hours back to Brisbane from Sydney, so you’ll need to excuse me if it jumps around a bit: but I’ve been thinking about this for most of the way – inspired yesterday by various provocative Tweets calling Scott’s article ‘sexist’ – something which it clearly isn’t. (Man, the irony of having a MOJO editor accuse Collapse Board of gender imbalance!) Perhaps it’s simple transference. These folk see a ton of misogynistic shit about the likes of Haim, that they (quite rightly) find themselves enraged by, and then attempt to pin the blame on the first negative reviewer around.

Unfortunate, in this case.

As is the norm these days, wherein every personal conversation is considered important enough to hold in public, I will of course be publishing this email on Collapse Board. Heavily edited.

Anyway. Appreciated your blog. Thoughtful as always, even if you have misread Scott.

All the best,
Everett

51 Responses to Haim | An open letter to Christopher R. Weingarten

  1. Chester Whelks October 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Instead of perpetuating this debate about sexism – which apparently isn’t a debate about sexism, but rather an exercise in defending yourselves from unfounded accusations of sexism, a defence that should really have just been left to the author to address, which I believe he is in the process of doing – shouldn’t someone be writing about something more important like, for example…sexism?

    “Dear Miley…”

  2. RJC October 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    The conversation about why certain UK mainstream music critics find themselves so riled by the writing of Scott Creney and Neil Kulkarni is the one I’d be interested in hearing.

  3. Chester Whelks October 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Music critics criticise other music critics’ criticisms of them? I am SO there…

  4. Dan October 5, 2013 at 2:38 am

    This is the same Christopher R. Weingarten who took to a Twitter conference in 2009 to bemoan the end of paid journalism and that the business model has changed from critical overview to talking about trends and racing to the middle entirely without irony, “crowdsourcing killed punk rock” he said animatedly, “it’s the bland NPR bullshit, white people with their fuckin’ guitars, it’s the link economy, it’s not the music that’s best, it’s the music that the most people can stand, that people are willing to click on” (paraphrased and out of order).

    Now he might take genuine delight in Haim and their alleged weirdness (the defence of which amounts to tom rolls and reverb which IIRC is pretty much ‘Feel It All Around’ by Washed Out but whatever) but they certainly marry up to the above schematic.

    http://blip.tv/140-characters-conference/christopher-r-weingarten-1000timesyes-music-writer-rollingstone-com-and-village-voice-at-the-2262684

  5. Christopher R. Weingarten October 5, 2013 at 3:20 am

    I mercifully haven’t read the patronizing Guardian things you’re talking about, but I certainly understand the feeling — there was a lot of American writing about Kitty Pryde that rubbed me in the same “I understand teen girls” way you’re describing.

    But also all this talk about rockism and popism and the intentions of critics w/r/t rockism and popism is just a red herring. (And tired. And boring.)

    Haim are three women who probably have Fleetwood Mac and TLC and Heart and Dirty Projectors in their Spotify playlists, they can shred on their instruments, and they turned weird music into something accessible enough for a major label to back. Calling them “indie” or “pop” or “rock” or whatever are just darts that critics lob at them in an attempt to make sense of an increasingly confusing world, and ways for people to fill 12 paragraphs clickbait and inherited wisdom masquerading as criticism. All of which ultimately means that all accusations of popism and rockism, or contrarian through-the-looking-glass “popism” or “rockism,” are null and void. Trying to split hairs about their role in pop or indie is ridiculous because THEY’RE not bothering to do it.

    Also, it’s OK to not like the Haim album, but not liking it by throwing around Bryan Adams, Wilson Phillips, and Rick Astley’s names like it’s bad to make good pop music is some sub-Chunklet aging punk bullshit, and corny as fuck.

    Also, the phrase “empty-headedness” is sexist.

  6. Everett True October 5, 2013 at 8:44 am

    If you want to read the original unabridged blog entry for this (and a close approximation of the email I originally sent to Mr Weingarten), I Love Music have reproduced it here.

    http://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?action=showall&boardid=41&threadid=94468#msg4035888

    I’m not reprinting it direct cos I ain’t particularly proud of it – too much said in too much hasty anger – but as it’s now public domain, I thought Collapse Board readers should know.

  7. Conan Neutron October 5, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Man! I kind of wish I cared enough about this band to make some kind of comment. But they have all of the excitement of lukewarm oatmeal to me. To be clear: I’d be wildly indifferent to them if they were all guys as well.

    True equality!
    Everybody can make banal and pleasantly unchallenging music that is made for browsing Instagram.

  8. Dan October 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Can writers stop telling people what a bullshit way to write is and what are or are not valid criterion on which to judge music? I’m the reader and I’ll be the judge of that if that’s ok. If you put forward a weak case I’ll ignore it but there aren’t any set rules here. Creney’s good, True’s good, Erika Meyer is good, the 1000 Times Yes thing was good while I was on Twitter, Chunklet are good, none of you are perfect and Haim completely suck. And “empty-headedness” is not a sexist term at all, whose arse did you pull that one from?

  9. Lee October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Anyone who dedicates their song to David Cameron – without being sarcastic, of course – sounds pretty airheaded to me.

    (Here’s that instance again, in case you didn’t play through to the end of it – in which case, I wouldn’t blame you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFV0-E_ZOOc)

  10. Everett True October 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Also, the phrase “empty-headedness” is sexist.

    Andrew Ridgeley.

  11. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    I still maintain that there’s something odd going on here. The vitriol directed towards Scott Creney from the London media hivemind is baffling (huh huh well done Doran, you called him ‘Steve Creeny’ LOL) Some unknown writer on some unknown website writes a ‘review’ of the Haim album and all hell breaks loose? Just what is going on here?

  12. Big Daddy Mumford October 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

    “How fortunate that so many rock critics have discovered the latent love for pop music that always laid deep within, just at a time when it’s been proven that you will not get work if your music criticism does not attract the requisite number of hits in web 2.0.” PREACH

  13. Dorian Lynskey October 6, 2013 at 2:43 am

    For God’s sake there is no hivemind. I saw this review linked on I Love Music. I tweeted my dislike. Maybe three other journalists responded, and I’ve disagreed with each of them about music in the past. Enough with the Oliver Stone spooky conspiracy bullshit please.

    Btw Scott Creney’s writing is full of attention-seeking vitriol, often directed at other journalists. So, unsurprisingly, he gets vitriol back. That’s no mystery.

  14. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 6, 2013 at 4:05 am

    Ah, but you would say that wouldn’t you Dorian? Weren’t you paying attention to what Kevin Shields said yesterday? My old colleague Ram Dass had it right way back in 1971.

  15. Kevin Stapleton October 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Dismissing the idea of a ‘hivemind’ whilst invoking I Love Music seems a little bit contradictory to me.

  16. Everett True October 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Dismissing the idea of a ‘hivemind’ whilst invoking I Love Music seems a little bit contradictory to me.

    To deny that some form of “collective conciousness” often occurs wherever like-minded folk congregate (on places such as message boards, say) seems somewhat disingenuous to me, also. Or perhaps it’s more of a “collective subconsciousness”?

    The fact that Dorian felt safe enough to call Scott’s review “sexist” – when it quite clearly is anything but – after seeing it linked from the self-congratulatory, smugger-than-thou ILM message boards is telling. (And also helps explain to me why such an intelligent writer as Dorian saw fit to use such an inappropriate insult in the first place.) I suspect that if he’d chanced across it on his own, his views would have been different. Maybe they wouldn’t have been, though. As he points out above, Scott’s writing is (sometimes) filled with attention-seeking vitriol, (sometimes) directed at other journalists – and it is hard NOT to rise to bait like that.

    Who knows? Context, context, context.

  17. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 7, 2013 at 7:15 am

    A nice sucker punch to the ILM collective subconscious there Mr True. Hivemind wankers.

  18. Christopher R. Weingarten October 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

    The all-important ILX hivemind of like four working rock critics, a dude in an indie rock band, and a guy who has nearly 4,000 views on a YouTube playing a Dyson vaccuum cleaner.

    What’s Australian for “shook ones”?

  19. Dan October 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Rattled.

  20. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 7, 2013 at 8:13 am

    ‘working rock critics’

  21. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 7, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Old man True is playing a very clever game here. There’s only one Simon Reynolds. He links to a Simon Reynolds piece which praises a KaptainKulk rant. The KaptainKulk rant which arguably has led us to where we are today. But if Simon Reynolds has praised this rant then what must the hivemind make of it? None of those hivemind cunts would ever dare to criticise Simon Reynolds. Would they?

  22. Dorian Lynskey October 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    If you read the Simon Reynolds thread you’d know the answer was yes, often. ILX must be the least successful hivemind ever invented because nobody can agree on anything.

    @Erika – No, that’s not what I’m saying. By all means go for attention, provoke, throw insults at individual writers if you like, but then expect the same back. It’s not one-way traffic.

  23. Dan October 8, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Dorian, are you not too old for this shit? You have a proper job and everything.

    http://www.collapseboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Twitter-feed.jpg

  24. Wallace Wylie October 8, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I’d like to know what a 23 year old writes like. What did Dorian Grey, the oh so reasonable pop commentator, mean by saying Neil Kulkarni wrote like a 23 year old? Is he implying that 23 is much too young? Too immature? Haven’t quite subdued those passionate urges and settled on a reasonable and accommodating style that’s not too hot and not too cold, but just right? Hasn’t turned their writing into the critical version of an MP3, with anything extraneous removed? 23 year olds, by all means enjoy pop music and listen to the reasonable musings of Dorian, but don’t try to write, not yet. You’re not ready. Some enthusiasm might seep through. A willingness to go out on a limb might accidentally emerge. Look at Kanye West. If only he would be reasonable and not be egotistic. Isn’t it a shame? Take a tip from Dorian and rein in those unreasonable urges and make something we can all enjoy without feeling uncomfortable. You know, when I read “Ulysses” by James Joyce I couldn’t help but feel that many parts were just unreasonable, which was a shame. Perhaps someone could edit out those unreasonable parts and then we could have a popular classic, which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with.

  25. Derek Robertson October 9, 2013 at 12:24 am

    It’s clear that everyone here will just have to agree to disagree, and there’s not much point in going round and round in ever decreasing, bitter circles…

    BUT has anyone had a gander at Dorian’s column in October’s Q Magazine? It’s basically a defence (of the “It’s not that bad” type) of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video. I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves:

    “…the topless version tips the balance towards titillation…”

    “If you were to first see Blurred Lines amidst an hour or so of generic, booty-shaking eye candy, it would probably seem different and funny.”

    “At worst, Blurred Lines is sleazy….”

    “Even so, Martel’s (the director) is clearly up to something more interesting than old-fashioned T&A”

    Admittedly, he is talking more about the actual music and lyrics in the piece than the video itself, but i find it bizarre, bordering on the downright hypocritical, that he could call out Scott’s piece as “sexist” and then pen a piece entitled “The blurred line between sleaze and misogyny”.

  26. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 9, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Mea culpa, Dorian. I’m happy to take your word for it re Reynolds/ILX – I can’t bring myself to search for a Reynolds thread over there as reading that messageboard makes me kind of depressed.

    I hope you don’t view what’s going on here as deliberate trolling. I think that these are conversations which need to be had, and it is to your credit that you have chosen to post here in your new role as official spokesperson for the Hivemind.

    Arguably the Kulkarni piece is the ur-text from which all of this has sprung, and you were one of those who joined in with the original Twitter playground bullying.

    If you wish to dismiss the idea of a Hivemind based on the fact that ILX posters occasionally disagree with one another that’s one thing, but what Kulkarni gets at here

    “I can also suggest that the militant reason I never moved to London – cos all my friends would be cunts in bands and cunts in PR and other cunting journalists – is now precisely the thing strangling the life out of the music press and the major-label sanctioned pop culture it tries to backslap into our hearts.”

    is something else entirely, and brings us nicely back to Haim.

    The Quietus are guilty of this too, but I don’t imagine serial comment deleter John Doran is going to come over here and state his case. He played his get out of jail free card with an admission that he hadn’t heard the Haim album, but I still maintain that there’s something odd going on here. Not that any of this is really about Haim, of course.

  27. Dorian Lynskey October 9, 2013 at 6:31 am

    WW’s post is a perfect example of the false binary that annoys me: only hyperventilating rants indicate Passion and Truth whereas any style that is more thoughtful, rigorous or nuanced is bloodless and unfelt. That’s not just a question of taste – it implies that one style is morally superior, and more “real”, than the other, which is self-aggrandising and wrong. Sounding like Holden Caulfield with Tourette’s isn’t the only way to be enthusiastic or willing to go out on a limb (not that hacking away at soft targets like Haim and Peace counts as going out on a limb btw, nor is it exactly on a par with James Joyce) but that style needs a villain, so you get this inaccurate myth (cf Kulkarni) that most music journalists are backslapping cronies who don’t care enough about music. I’ve devoted my working life to this because I do care about music so fuck that basically.

    But anyway, my main takeaway from this discussion is that when I badmouth a piece of writing in the heat of the moment, it later feels kind of obnoxious and necessary. I’d rather link to all the music criticism that I do love than kvetch about the stuff I don’t.

  28. Dan October 9, 2013 at 7:45 am

    That’s an absolute misreading of the situation Dorian, a self-serving crock of bullshit that sets you up as moderate free-thinker who everyone has got wrong and everyone who disagrees with you as puffing and panting blusterer who can barely type without kicking a dog. There’s plenty of great writing out there and on here that matches the thoughtful, rigorous and nuanced schemata you talk about. The difference between that writing and the mulch parading as agglomerated Haim defence is that it actually stands for something and engages debate, rather than smugly retreating into the safezones of a forum or Twitter to diss people from a safe distance.

    And I won’t even START on the hypocrisy of your “Sounding like Holden Caulfield with Tourette’s” line contrasted with the attempt at a magnanimous soft-pedalled retreat of your final paragraph. Go and fuck off and fuck off while you’re at it.

  29. Wallace Wylie October 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

    If participating in an insanely smug and conceited circle-jerk condemnation of another person’s writing that happens to be passionate, and then labeling another person’s angry writing sexist and reactionary, isn’t creating a false binary then I don’t know what is. Dorian, you are the one publicly taking pot shots at different writing styles that don’t match your own, and getting publicly back slapped by sycophantic fans and fellow writers in the process. Coming off like a poor man’s Simon Reynolds doesn’t give you much room to criticise. You are implicitly stating that your style is the superior one. I have no problem with more reasoned or nuanced pieces of writing. Again, I’m not smugly lambasting another’s style on Twitter. I can enjoy many different writing styles.

    Since when did Haim become a soft target? They are destined to sell millions of albums and their debut release has been critically acclaimed by just about every music publication, including Pitchfork. Why would anyone consider them a soft target? Because they are young women? I’m genuinely confused here. Anytime somebody is criticised somebody else is always ready to label them a soft target. Who exactly is a hard target? And why don’t we apply this same logic to praise? Isn’t praising Haim an easy target? Peace were acclaimed by NME and sell lots of records. They are a soft target because??? Again, I’m struggling. Indie bands are a soft target, as are major label pop bands!!! Criticise Radiohead? Soft target. Lady Gaga? Soft target. The use of the phrase ‘soft target’ is a rather lame attempt to take the wind out of any criticism. It is employed as regularly as ‘sixth form’ and is just about as cliched.

  30. Everett True October 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    OK. Now I’m interested.

    Are Haim and Peace considered “soft targets” because even their fans know they’re nothing remarkable? If not, then why? (Clearly, it can’t be the gender.) As Wallace quite correctly identifies, Haim and Peace seem the exact opposite of a soft target on pretty much all the counts that matter. (Critically lauded, immensely popular, new, young…)

  31. Dorian Lynskey October 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Well Dan if I was only interested in “safezones” then I wouldn’t have come on here to debate with people who think I’m an arsehole would I? But at this point I’ll happily take your advice and fuck off.

  32. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 9, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    In fairness Dan, there’s a degree to which telling Dorian to fuck off and fuck off while he’s at it is no better than the Twitter playground bullying of Neil Kulkarni. There are potentially interesting conversations to be had here without resorting to personal abuse. Yes Dr FC Eszterhaus, welcome to the Internet.

  33. David Attenborough October 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    And there, with the blood of a successful hunt dripping from its chin, the Lynskey, pausing only to sniff the air & clean its sex organs, disappears back into the forest.

  34. Everett True October 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    There are potentially interesting conversations to be had here without resorting to personal abuse.

    I agree.

  35. Wallace Wylie October 10, 2013 at 12:28 am

    At this point, we aren’t allowed to have a conversation about pop. Not in any real sense. When Paul Morley decided to champion pop in the face of almost complete disgust he was being brave, and intelligent, and opinionated. Nowadays championing pop puts you in the same position culturally as being a rock critic in 1971. You are the winner. You are not being rebellious or brave. You are part of a million pound/dollar industry and your job is to grease the wheels. I love pop music, but I feel a sense of despair at the lack of criticism or insight most pop music is met with. The only thing you’re allowed to write about pop music, if you work for a major newspaper or website, is that it’s good. Yet there is no censorship or arm twisting involved. Pop writers will naturally come around.

    Take Miley Cyrus. With all the condemnation of her recent VMA performance, thousands of pop writers began the tortuous journey of coming round to the side of Miley Cyrus. Nobody forced them. It just happens. Right now thousands of 20/30 somethings are getting a giddy thrill talking about their love for Miley Cyrus, and they mean it. They are not faking. They think defending Miley is an act of bravery. Chomsky often talks about the fact that there is no actual censorship in the media. You either toe the line or you get weeded out. Simple. If it seems like you aren’t going to be able to come up with a ringing endorsement of Miley Cyrus then you wouldn’t even be where you are in the first place. You are there because you are reasonable and accommodating and you don’t want to go out on a limb and risk making a fool of yourself. Defending Miley Cyrus right now is WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. There is only defending Miley or being a pop hating rockist, ‘sexist’, ‘reactionary’ dinosaur. You’re condemnation of Miley will probably be a bit ‘sixth form’ and you’ll be going after a ‘soft target’. Only the pop lovers are the brave ones, the subtle thinkers. If I didn’t love pop music so much I would walk away from this bullshit and concentrate on literature instead. Does that indicate a studenty, sixth-formesque pretension? A need for more than what pop music can provide? Who do I think I am?

    Criticisms of pop are often derailed by the question: what makes art important? Try advocating for something you consider to be intelligent, and suddenly highly educated people with expensive degrees and well paid jobs will lambast your naive snobbery. They will position themselves as populist defenders of the tastes of the masses, a kind of sick combination of right-on brother left wing ideological defensiveness of the hoi polloi and right wing market thinking that says what is popular is right. Individuality exists only on the endorsement of popular artifacts and nowhere else.

    Behind all this bullshit is the ultimate negation: IT’S ONLY POP MUSIC. You shouldn’t get too upset. You should only endorse. There’s ultimately nothing to get too upset about. Anybody who wanders outside the pre-approved levels of emotional reaction is pathetic (unless they’re a young girl screaming at a boy band. It is ‘rockist’ to condemn this so it must be intellectualised and approved. Besides they are endorsing not condemning). Pop music means as much as pop music writers think it should mean, which is ultimately not much. There is nothing at stake. Pop music should be considered like a weird colourful thread that you found in your belly button. Diverting, but nothing to make you angry. The next pop issue will be along soon and everyone will forget about the anguished pseudo-intellectual drivel that was pumped out in regards to the last pop moment. Nothing is at stake. It is only pop music. Don’t dare consider it to be any more (or less) than the pop critics decide it should be.

    If you want to be a music writer these days then get in the business of defending pop music, no matter what the charges. Feel a rush as you endorse a pop album that you know thousands of invisible unnamed enemies would be shocked at the idea of you liking. This is where the money is. This is the winners circle.

  36. Dan October 10, 2013 at 12:33 am

    It’s too important to me not to go in two-footed. Feel free to distance yourself from my remarks and continue the conversation without me.

  37. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 10, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Ach no, I’m not really having a go at you Dan. Let he who has never abused someone on the Internet cast the first stone and all that. I thought it was beneficial having da Lynskey join in the conversation but can understand why he has fucked off. I think he should come back though – you’re all far more intelligent and eloquent than I am so I’ve enjoyed reading all of this. I don’t think anybody should leave the conversation, it’s far too important for that.

  38. Everett True October 10, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Wallace, please write an article around this for CB.

  39. Wallace Wylie October 10, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I’m sure I could flesh it out, as the saying goes.

  40. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 10, 2013 at 8:02 am

    ‘The common pursuit of true judgment’ : that is how the critic should see his business, and what it should be for him. His perceptions and judgments are his, or they are nothing; but, whether or not he has consciously addressed himself to co-operative labour, they are inevitably collaborative. Collaboration may take the form of disagreement, and one is grateful to the critic whom one has found worth disagreeing with.
    – F.R.Leavis, initially quoting T.S.Eliot “The Common Pursuit”

    N Kulkarni passim

  41. Corey Haim October 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I actually don’t think it’s that unfair accusing someone of elitism for saying that anyone over 23 who likes Haim’s record should “grow the fuck up”, after proving one’s own superior literacy by quoting whatever-the-fuck-poet-is-hip-in-the-librarian-circles-right-now. If insulting people for liking something isn’t the very definition of snobbery, I don’t know what is. There are lots of ways to express dislike, he chose to express it by being a true, classic, music snob.

  42. Wallace Wylie October 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Yeah, David Foster Wallace’s widow is the latest hip poet among librarians.

  43. Scott Creney October 11, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I’d just like to say that I’ve sat out these threads b/c a lot of people here have made the same points I would have (esp. Wallace), so I didn’t see where one more voice was going to help. But I would like to point out that over 300 people clicked the link to ‘Bough Down’s amazon page. Which was the main impetus for writing the review (and writing it the way I did).

    For what it’s worth, the morning I read Mr. Lysnkey’s tweet I became slightly nauseous. Accusations of being a sexist turn my stomach, esp. when it’s put out there by people with way more readership than I’ll probably ever have. Still, I see why he and Mr. Weingarten fell into that trap though. A lot of sexist things have been written about pop music, using language which called it vapid/vacuous/empty-headed/unauthentic/inferior to Pearl Jam etc.

    I tried to avoid that in the article. The better alternatives I suggested instead of Haim’s music (which I truly find lacking, in all areas) were all female, and included other pop musicians as well. I’d imagine that Lynskey/Weingarten commented reflexively, responding to the tone of the piece. So when pushed by others to back up their claims, they couldn’t really find any and fumbled around tossing around Rick Astley and empty-headed (if I had used the word airhead, or bimbo, or even bubble-headed, he would have had a better case). Lynskey wasn’t entirely wrong when he said it ‘felt’ sexist. But then, how does one talk about vapid/vacuous/empty-headed music & political photo-ops when it’s made by females w/o sounding sexist?

    And as for my feelings about pop, I talked about that in my recent review of the Lorde album. Not that anyone bothers to read it. I only get attention from mass-media when I write negative articles about raved-about albums. When I rave about albums that aren’t universally acclaimed? Fucking crickets.

    Anyway, I respect Lynskey/Weingarten (one more and they can become a law firm) for taking the time to come in here and wrestle with the commenters.

    And if ‘Corey Haim’ doesn’t like critics who recommend good books to him, there are infinity-minus-one places he can go read about music w/o any of that getting in the way. All these voices out there and some people still yearn for ubiquity.

  44. Corey Haim October 11, 2013 at 3:56 am

    Thanks Scott, I can tolerate book tips in record reviews perfectly fine. What brings me down is when a record review becomes more of a review on the people who like the music. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the piece was entertaining and justified as your view, to the point where it turned into an insult on anyone who feels differently – i.e. contemptuous and snobbish as shit.

  45. Dr. Goon October 11, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Whys everyone so down on Peas and Ham? Give Peas a chance!

  46. Scott Creney October 11, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I think the complete emptiness of Haim music, as I perceive it from my entire subjective POV of course, coupled with its near universal praise in the music press irritated me into a state of anger/disappointment/frustration. Weingarten can compare their music to Kate Bush if he wants to, but I can’t make Haim give up 1/100 of what this song does for/to me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3XAeg3B0To
    (‘suspended in gaffa’ by kate bush in case you don’t feel like clicking)

    Maybe I’ve got shitty ears. Or I’m a shitty person. But in my mind anyone who buys Haim who doesn’t already own The Dreaming is just missing out. And yeah, I guess that makes me a snob, or maybe even mean, but I’m allowed to have that opinion and express it however I want.

    And you’re allowed to respond however you want, and that’s what we call a conversation, and that’s what we call freedom. Thanks Corey, for a civilized discussion that focused on what I actually wrote. I’m a big fan of your work. Lucas alone justifies every shitty movie you ever made.

  47. Dr FC Eszterhaus October 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Did somebody seriously compare Haim to Kate Bush? Wow, I was not aware of that. What a fucking idiotic thing to do. And people wonder why music critics struggle to get paid.

    There’s probably an interesting conversation to be had underneath the Lorde review but I’m not sure I feel ready to contribute to that one yet. The fact that nobody seems to give a fuck about the Lorde review only serves to illustrate part of the point of the Haim ‘review’ and subsequent hoo-ha.

    I suspect the London media hivemind will have formulated their response to Lorde before the month is out.

  48. Steve Threadgold October 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I was one on those people that clicked on the link and I bought the book, and have bought quite a few records after reading your reviews. This is what good criticism does, esp. when you get to trust someone’s opinion. It helps to wade through the vast amount of stuff out there. It’s why I come here, so thanks Scott…

    I’m interested in the idea of ‘hivemind’, esp. the way it is used as a pejorative towards middle class London critics in this thread (I’m in Newcastle, Australia btw). As some of the comments above point out, there’s no doubt this loose collective is knows where their bread is buttered…

    But, I think Collapse Board works as a kind of hivemind as well, esp. as the definition of it in my understanding is that it doesn’t have to lead to conformity per se, but in its more natural sciences meaning, can lead to similar people working to a mutually beneficial goals (like ants, bees etc).

    From my perspective, the ‘goals’ here come from a broadly feminist, broadly DIY, broadly critical of the music industry perspective etc. There is no where near enough of this in music critic/blog media.

    The problem being is that ‘our’ hivemind (if I can call it that as a daily reader, but very rare commenter) largely preaches to the converted.

  49. backwards7 October 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    The subject of any given Scott Creney article seems to be Scott Creney, with whatever he is reviewing or writing about sidelined into a cameo role.

  50. Wallace Wylie October 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Word up.

  51. James Flint November 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Everyone knows the 55th comment is the most important one.

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